Remembering Mets History (1973) Mets Sweep Double Header In Montreal

Friday September 7th, 1973 (First Game):  On a cold Canadian September afternoon, a rescheduled game from May was played for a Friday doubleheader with Gene Mauch's Montreal Expos. 

The Expos were one half game ahead of the Mets at this point, so this was a big series at Parc Jary. 

The Expos sent former Met prospect; Steve Renko (12-11) to the mound in the first game. Renko was one of the players traded away in June 1969 to acquire Donn Clendenon, who turned out to be the World Series MVP. 

The Mets sent Jon Matlack (11-15) to the mound for this matinee. Matlack was 4-1 in his last five decisions.

This game was to be a classic pitcher's duel & one that kept you glued to the TV. 

In the top of the 1st inning, Mets third baseman Garrett led off with a solo HR off Steve Renko. It was Garrett's 12th HR of the year. It was the second time in the week he had led off a game with a HR for the Mets. 

The third baseman by now had settled in as the team's main third baseman. The Red headed third baseman would hit 16 HRs on the year, second best on the club. 

This would be the only run Renko allowed in the game & one of just six hits. He would issue six walks in the game & work his way out of two bases loaded situations while pitching six innings of work, striking out four.

Jon Matlack would scatter five hits & issue six walks as well, but he got the outs when needed. He also had seven strike outs as he shut out the Expos into the 9th inning.

In the bottom of the 9th, with the Mets clinging to a 1-0 lead, Matlack struck out Ron Woods & got Tim Foli to fly out. But he then walked Pepe Mangual & former Met Mike Jorgensen. Manager Yogi Berra went to Tug McGraw to put out the fire. 

Trivia: Closers in those days were called "firemen". 

McGraw who would now have a spectacular September & October put out the fire, by getting former Met Ron Hunt to ground out to him at the mound to end the game.

Friday September 5th, 1973 (Night Cap): In the nightcap, the Mets sent Jerry Koosman (12-14) to the mound to face off against Mike Torrez (9-11). Koosman was on a roll where he had won four straight games, including two shut outs in that period. He had set a Mets record for scoreless innings, not having allowed in those four starts over 29.2 innings, dating back to August 14th.

Torrez was also coming off a shutout & personal four game win streak over his last seven starts.

Both pitchers did well on this night as well, with each giving up just a run, but they were both long gone by the time this game ended in the 15th inning, four hours & thirty minutes later. 

In the bottom of the 3rd inning, Koosman gave up an RBI single to Bob Bailey ending his scoreless streak at 31.2 innings, setting a new Mets record. Koosman's 31.2 scoreless innings streak record would last for 39 years until R.A. Dickey pitched 32.2 scoreless innings in 2012.

On the night Koosman would pitch six innings allowing four hits, with one earned run, four walks & three strike outs. He would lower his ERA to 2.89 for the season.

As for Mike Torrez he would make his own trouble by walking Met batters. Throughout his long career walks would always be a problem for Torrez. 

It was something that drove Expo Manager, Gene Mauch crazy. Even after winning 15 or more games in two of three seasons, Torrez would get traded to the Orioles by 1975.

In the 7th inning, with two outs & the Expos leading 1-0, Jerry Grote reached on an error. Torrez then issued walks to Don Hahn & Bud Harrelson.

Expos manager Gene Mauch let Torrez pitch to pinch hitter Ken Boswell who he also walked tying up the game. Mauch was furious with himself & Torrez. He then went to his bullpen & brought in work horse Mike Marshall, who was one of the best relievers in the game in the early seventies. 

As they game went into extra innings, Marshall would pitch 8.1 innings and give up eleven hits before taking the loss in the top of the 15th.

Yogi Berra got two scoreless innings from reliever Harry Parker. He then went to his bullpen ace again, Tug McGraw. In the10th inning, McGraw gave up a leadoff single to Bob Bailey. He then struck out Hal Breeden looking & got Ken Singleton to ground into a force play. 

With two outs he intentionally walked Tim Foli & then Mike Jorgensen to load the bases. But he got pinch hitter Clyde Mashore to pop up behind first base to end the inning.

In the top of the 15th inning, John Milner led off with a base hit off Mike Marshall. Then Ed Kranepool doubled but Milner was held up at third. 

After Duffy Dyer grounded out moving the runner over, Don Hahn came through with a sac fly to put New York up 2-1. Marshall then walked Bud Harrelson & threw a wild pitch advancing the runners. 

The batter was then Tug McGraw batting for himself after pitching four innings. The logic was he's the best relief pitcher we have, he stays in the game.

McGraw drove a base hit to right field scoring both Kranepool & Harrelson putting New York up 4-1, as the Mets dugout went crazy.

In the bottom of the 15th, after retiring Hal Breeden on a grounder, McGraw he gave up a single to Ken Singleton & walked Tim Foli. Next his former teammate Mike Jorgensen doubled to right field bringing in Singleton to make it 4-2.

Ray Sadecki came in to replace the tired McGraw, with the bases loaded & one out holding a 4-2 lead. Sadecki struck out Pepe Mangual & then got Felipe Alou to fly out to Hahn in centerfield ending the game.

Tug McGraw earned his third win in two weeks (3-6) and the Mets jumped ahead of Montreal to fourth place in the standings, somehow just four games out of first place.


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